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New and I need help!

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,671
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:19 AM in New Member Introductions
Hello everyone.

I am 39 next month and just saw an orthopedic doctor last week due to my back "freezing" up a couple of weeks ago. I was stuck in a bent posture for about 3 days and then developed pain.

After a physical examination, where he found some decreased sensation in my left leg and decreased strength in my left greater toe, he sent my for x-ray. I have complete fractures in the pars articularis on both sides at L4 and the vertebral body has become a spondylolisthesis (maybe grade 1?). The foramen are significantly reduced and the disc has herniated posteriorly. I am having 0-4/10 pain all the time (can sleep OK), with bouts of 6-7/10 pain around mid-day to evening. As if this was not bad enough, my right knee has been feeling a little weak at times (I was limping a little when walking for about 2 weeks before my back locked up.

I am barley "managing" the pain with over the counter medicine because I need to stay clear for work. I am giving serious thought to surgical intervention if things continue this way (the drive home from work is very uncomfortable).

I would welcome any advice offered! I am athletic and in good physical condition. I think my back strength might be the only thing holding me together right now. The doctor said that L4 is worse for this kind of condition than L5. How long can you compress nerves before you get permanent damage?




  • Hi and welcome to SH. I don't know how long unitl permenant damage is done, but I have been tols that nerve can heal in many cases. Unfortunately, they damage quicktly, and heal slowly. Has your doc. offered any type of Pysical therapy? that may be a way to keep everything strong while you decide on where to go with this next. Has he discussed any testing, MRI? I seems as if you need to ask about how to proceed.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
  • I second the other guys,get a second opinion.I don't know much about pars defects and Spondy,but I don't believe that Spondy develops overnight.What I mean,it's probably the herniated disc,but don't take my word for it.Not a doc here.Should try to get an MRI,and go from there.There are many conservative treatments before you opt for surgery.As Bubblegum said,once it's done,ain't no going back.
    Good luck and keep us posted!

    G. 8)
  • Hello DSG,
    I too have a Spondy of L4 on L5. Mine is an anterolisthesis meaning the L4 is sliding forward. It can also slide backwards, meaning retrolisthesis. Pars fractures often develop in adolescence from athletics, or they can develop over time from over-use and repetitive motion. One can also be born with a weaker pars than the general population. Something like 6-7 % of the population have pars defects, and most are asymtomatic. A few of us lucky ones are not so lucky and our pars defects cause spondylolisthesis. The pars fractures allow the vertebrae to slide off the one below and sometimes pinch things in the process and damage the discs. I was diagnosed over 2 years ago when I started having hip pain and sciatica. My Spondy caused an annular tear of my L4-5 disc, and now this disc is all dried up. I am going to have a posterior fusion on August 5th. This will stabilize my spine, restore disc height, and hopefully help my pain. I was treated initially with Lumbar epidural steroid injections and water PT. The LESI's did help initially. I have had 4 now and the last one was useless, so now I am going to the OR. I am 41, so dx at 39, like you. There is alot of info out there about Spondy. Of couse SH is a good source and also Spine Universe http://www.spineuniverse.com/article/spondylolisthesis-4000.html
    I have researched this diagnosis to death and would be happy to share the sites I have found.
    I too am managing with OTC meds mostly. I take Ibuprofen 800 mg 2-3 times a day. (This is a prescription dose, I just take 4 regular IBU tabs) I use Tylenol #3 and Soma on days off from work or at night. I will be giving up my IBU 2 weeks prior to surgery per MD instructions, not looking forward to that.
    Well, good luck on your journey as a Spiney and welcome to this awesome site of information and support, Sue :)
  • I appreciate everyones advice so far. Cali-Sue, it seems we have a very similar diagnosis. It leaves me wondering what my spine will be like in the next couple of years.

  • My first and second MRI were about 1 1/2 years apart. In that time I developed worsened facet arthrosis at L4-5 and L5-S1. My disc at 4-5 went from being torn to being dessicated (dried up) with loss of disc height. I had three LESI's that were helpful, went from pain 6-7/10 to 0, but only lasted about 1 month each. Has your doc mentioned trying pain management injections or PT. I have found aqua-therapy very beneficial. In fact this process of getting to surgery has taken so long, I am feeling quite a bit better now. However I still limp with any prolonged walking, or when working at my job as a nurse, and I can't do any other exercise except in the pool. I tried an eliptical and that was not a good idea. Constantly having second thoughts about surgery, but wanting to be able to walk further and not limp, and participate in other activities, as I am really limited right now. So my excruciating pain is gone, but my quality of life could be a lot better. Let us know how you are doing and what your MD recommends, Sue
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